Liquor Shop Unifies Tuz Kurmatu Components

February 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm

Opening liquor shops is normal all over Iraq, but the matter differs in Tuz Khurmatu. Photo: Hardi Abdualla.

Salahuddin- KirkukNow

Opening a liquor shop to sell alcohol in Tuz Khurmatu has unified the different components to stop its opening at a time these components disagree on majority of issues, including: power-sharing, IDPs and running Tuz Khurmatu district.

Attempts of a Christina merchant have reached a dead end in the past few days to open the first liquor shop. This resulted when the district council with all its components: Turkmens, Arabs and Kurds stood against the Christian merchant.

Barzan Mulhim, the merchant, wanted to meet the demands of those wanting to open a liquor shop in Tuz Khurmatu district, after managing to open several shops in Qayyarah- south of Mosul- and in Tikrit center of Salahuddin province.

Barzan obtained the consent of Salahuddin governor to open a shop to sell liquor at Tuz Khurmatu district.

Tuz Khurmatu 2016/ al- Wahab mosque in the district center. Photo: Karwan Salahi.

Ali al-Hashimi, Turkmen member of the district Council, told KirkukNow that: “the Christian merchant previously acquired a decision from Salahuddin governor allowing him to open a liquor shop within the center of Tuz Khurmatu district, but we refused to open the shop because it is inappropriate for the town.”

Tuz Khurmatu is part of Salahuddin province, and it is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-sect district where religion plays a role sometimes in determining administrative decisions. That was the reason why the district administration did not allow liquor shops to be open.

Alaa Yusuf, an alias name for a 28-years young man who preferred his name not to be revealed said to KirkukNow: “I am astonished by the decision of Tuz Khurmatu administration for not allowing to open shops to sell theses drinks, and the ban decision does not decrease the number of people dinking liquor.”

Liquor is sold secretly in Tuz Khurmatu, and those who drink liquor go outside the district because there is not a specific place for them.

Kurds did not allow these shops to open while they were in control of the district in between 2003-2017. Post- October 16, 2017 when Turkmens took control of the district, they agreed with the Arabs to prevent opening this shop. Thus, this is the only time that all different components agree upon in Tuz Khurmatu. Muhammed Faiq, who worked as media manager for Tuz Khurmatu’s Mayor after many years and who was displaced post-October 16, 2017 after the return of Iraqi forces and Peshmerge withdrawal, said to KirkukNow: “when we [Kurds] were in power, we publically banned opening shops selling liquor, but some young men were selling liquor in their cars.”

Liquor is not allowed to be sold in Tuz Khurmatu.

Sardar Ahmed, Tuz Khurmatu Council member for Kurds, told KirkukNow: “it is possible that when Kurds were managing the district, no one submitted a request asking to open a liquor shop, but I am with opening the shop.”

Regardless of the disputes related to open a liquor shop, Barzan, who lives in Erbil, is prevented to open his shop in Tuz Khurmatu after opening a number of shops in Qayyarah and Salahuddin.

Tuz Khurmatu is one of the “disputed territories” between Erbil and Baghdad and deciding the fate of these territories is bound to implement article 140 of Iraqi constitution.

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